The School of Artisan Food attracts students from all over the world. We’ve welcomed international students from across Europe and as far afield as Australia, the USA, Brazil and Bahrain. The traditional methods of food production the School teaches give our students skills and knowledge that can be used to create delicious, artisan food and drink across every continent.
A taste of the UK’s artisan food movement is being shared across the Channel, thanks to 26-year-old Cedric Martens from Belgium. After moving to the UK to study for the School of Artisan Food’s Advanced Diploma in Artisan Baking in 2015, Cedric returned home to establish his own artisan bakery, Koek en Brood.
While studying biology at university Cedric decided he wanted to do something completely different for a career.
“I was looking through a long list of courses and baking just jumped out at me. I took a one-year course in Belgium, but by the end I realised there was so much more to learn. I discovered the School on the internet; I was researching the finalists of the Coupe De Monde baking competition and found out that Wayne Caddy taught at the School.
“The more I read about the School the more I felt I didn’t have a choice, it became clear it was where I should be. I knew I needed to learn much more to become the kind of baker I wanted to be, and the School’s diploma was the only course that covered everything. There was nothing like it in Belgium.
“I have nothing but good things to say about the course and the tutors. On the baking course I did in Belgium I felt like I just learnt how to push buttons and use machines. At the School you learn the science behind baking, you’re taught to understand the dough. I was shown the correct way of doing things. The artisan element of the course, using traditional rather than industrial methods, was what really appealed to me.
“Learning to make bread with Wayne was one of the main attractions of studying at the School. But all the tutors really know their stuff and learning from such experts was a new experience for me. Yvonne’s classes helped me to set up my own business and Mickael, Graham and Rose taught me to create patisserie I couldn’t dream of making when I first arrived.”
After graduating in 2015 Cedric worked in Belgium and the UK as a baker. Through the School’s connections he gained vital work experience at Bostock Bakery in North Berwick and Flour, Water, Salt in Macclesfield.
“After you leave the School, it still opens lots of doors for you. So many bakeries across the UK are run by people connected to the School and this network means you have the back-up and support you need when you’re planning to start your own business.”
Cedric’s plans to set up an artisan bakery in his hometown of Genk began taking shape and Koek en Brood opened its doors in autumn 2017.
“Right from the start it’s been busy, we’re selling between 100 and 200 loaves each day and we’re open six days a week. I’m making mostly sourdough breads, but we also produce baguettes, rolls, croissants and brioche. Most of our customers are gobsmacked at what I make, the response has been really positive.”
“It’s very unusual to have an artisan bakery in Belgium. We have a culture of fast food and we’re about a decade behind the UK in terms of baking. But people here are fed up with the mass-produced bread they get in the supermarket and our baking industry really needs to change. We’ve found there is a market out there for real bread. People will pay more for fresh, quality bread, that they know has been made here in the bakery. They’re looking for a delicious alternative and that’s what we offer at Koek en Brood.”
Inspired to set up your own artisan food business? Take a look at our range of food start-up business courses designed to take your business from wishful thinking to commercial reality.